A Thanksgiving Pumpkin Dim Sum

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - November 14, 2007
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Chef Chih-Chieh Chang and Li May Tang
Chef Chih-Chieh Chang and Li May Tang with their Jasmine Tea and Pumpkin-stuffed Bun


Thanksgiving is an “American” holiday to so many of us, whether one resides in Canada, where festivities occurred last month, or in the United States, where it will be celebrated Thursday, Nov. 22.

But did you know that since the dawn of recorded history, civilizations the world over have said their thanks for the fruits of the harvest with a celebration?

Whether it’s the ancient Greeks or Romans, the biblical Hebrews, the Egyptians or the Chinese, thanks have been offered this time of year.

And while it may seem far from the norm, many local families enjoy our annual Thanksgiving holiday by dining at Li May Tang’s Hong Kong Harbor View Seafood Restaurant - known for its dim sum carts - at Aloha Tower Marketplace.


One thing is for sure, Li May will be there, most likely in the company of her children Theresa, Michelle and Richard. Li May’s multi-talented executive chef is Chih-Chieh Chang, and he has graciously given me a creative and delicious Thanksgiving recipe to share with MidWeek readers for home enjoyment.

These wonderful buns are boiled, not fried, and contain healthy ingredients and good fiber from the pumpkin.

Fresh pumpkin is plentiful this season or, if you prefer, canned pumpkin may be substituted in the bun recipe.

BOILED JASMINE TEA AND PUMPKIN-STUFFED BUN

For Stuffing:

* 2 dried black mushrooms, soaked in water (can use fresh mushrooms)

* 1 teaspoon Chinese-style preserved cabbage (optional)

* 1 tablespoon carrot, cut into small pieces

* 1 teaspoon salt

* 1/2 teaspoon sugar

* 2 cups fresh pumpkin, cut into small pieces and steamed until fully cooked

* 1 tablespoon long rice noodles, soaked in water and cut into small pieces

* 1 tablespoon raw chicken breast, cut into small pieces

*1 jasmine powder tea bag (empty powder from tea bag into a bowl)

Heat two tablespoons of vegetable oil in cooking pot and stir-fry black mushrooms and preserved cabbage (optional).


Add carrots and cook until almost fully cooked; add salt and sugar. Add cooked pumpkin, rice noodles and chicken and cook for a few minutes longer. Add jasmine tea powder last. Mix together, set aside.

For Buns:

* 1 pound pumpkin (fresh or canned)

* 1 cup mochi flour

* 1 tablespoon potato starch

Steam pumpkin until fully cooked. Drain water from pumpkin, then mash. (If using canned pumpkin, skip this step). Set aside to cool.

Add mochi flour and potato starch to cooled pumpkin. Knead and shape dough into a long roll.

Cut dough into 12 pieces and roll each into a ball. Flatten each ball and evenly divide stuffing onto each piece of dough. Wrap each piece of dough around stuffing and shape back into a ball. Using palm of hand, flatten each ball very slightly.

Cook buns in boiling water until they float to the top. Lower heat to medium and continue cooking for three minutes. Remove from water.

Makes 12 buns.

 

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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